From cloud pilots to embedded business intelligence to a greater emphasis on user education, here is what experts say we can expect from BI in 2014.
Ask people about business intelligence (BI), these days, and they almost invariably talk about Big Data. While closely related, they are certainly not the same thing. Having already published Big Data trends for this year, we follow up here with the top business intelligence trends.
BI Balancing Act
Elizabeth Hedstrom Henlin, an analyst at Technology Business Research(TBR), forecasts that vendors set to grow in a maturing BI software market are aligning portfolios and go-to-market strategies with customers’ evolving business intelligence needs. They face a BI landscape where growth dictates being able to equally serve advanced customers who got on board early and know exactly which niche tools they need to expand current deployments, as well as lagging adopters who know they need to have fundamental BI implementations and don’t know where to start.
"Vendors that can balance customers’ BI software needs around performance and cost, as well as interoperability and integration, will drive adoption of BI products and ensure revenue growth in 2014," said Henlin.
Cracking the Data Code
Eric Kimberling, managing partner, Panorama Consulting Solutions www.panorama-consulting.com, continues this theme. He notes that while companies have had roughly 20 years of experience gathering transactional and operational data in their enterprise systems, they have yet to figure out how to make sense of it all. He believes the real battle in the coming year will be over who can simplify the process of providing fast answers from the chaotic mountain of data they are accumulating.
"Vendors that crack the code on how to translate this data into meaningful information that can support decision-making within organizations will have a clear advantage over other vendors," he said.
Educate the Masses
TBR sees a critical need for vendors to sustain investment around user education. The self-service aspects of BI tools and applications place tools into the hands of business users who do not possess fundamental knowledge bases in how to use them in support of the business. Education is the key.
"Those who can teach users how to ask questions and how to interpret outputs create a critical bridge of trust which will sustain not only user loyalty but purchasing engagement over time," said Henlin. "Adding business process change consulting to the conversation further enables customers to change how they do business in response to more and better insights into business data – extending engagements outside of business intelligence and into business transformation."